New Wearable Sensors Promise More Calorie Burn Accuracy During Exercise

Posted on 9/23/2021 11:08:42 AM By ASC

Stanford University researchers have developed a wearable calorie counter which differs considerably in its approach to calorie expenditure measurement during physical action in terms of how it works, the body areas chosen for the calorie burn measurement, and the accuracy of measurement from that of the smart watches and phones.

According to the university these wearable sensors focus on recording data from the body area where the most energy is expended during exercise, and therefore target leg motion, instead of recording wrist activity and heart rate which is the sole source of  measurements taken by smartwatches and phones.


The developers report that results of tests conducted in various scenarios on both the new wearable counter as well as on watches and phones, indicated considerable differences in the accuracy of the calorie burn measurements between the two approaches. The wearable sensor showed an average error rate of around 13% in calorie burn measurements, while phones and watches produced counts which showed inaccuracies of between 40% and 80% in calorie expenditures.

According to the researchers, the wearable sensor is rigged with a battery and portable microcontroller which is worn on a belt round the hip, and two inertial sensors, one of which is bound to the thigh, and the other to the leg shank. Together these keep track the calorie burn in terms of the acceleration and rotation of the leg. 

With wearable adhesive devices in the medical and consumer markets becoming the preferred solution for many design engineers and manufacturers, the new wearable calorie counter sensor concept, if developed for final end use markets, may well employ body attachable adhesive sensors as part of the end design. This may lead to even more accurate recording, as well as increased wearing comfort, as adhesives offer several advantages over mechanical securing methods.